What first interested you about STEM?

My grandfather was an electrical engineer when he was young. So when I was a child, I saw him repair different electrical equipment, such as an electric kettle, television, and oven in the home. As a child, I was quite curious and wondered how those electronic boards and circuits resulted in the functioning of the equipment. That was the start of my interest in STEM.

What’s your favorite part about engineering?

The part in engineering that I like the most is that I can utilize the knowledge to actually construct something that is useful. For example, in the robotics club in my high school, we built a robot that can lift boxes and carry them to certain areas. Making something new and finally seeing the design become a real thing that I can touch is my favorite part of engineering.

What attracted you to the the Engineering Summer Academy at Penn (ESAP)?

There were two main reasons that made me decide to participate in the ESAP program.

The first reason is that ESAP is a quite selective program and all the admitted students do pretty well in their school studies and have strong academic skills. I want to challenge myself and hope to meet more excellent and interesting people, so I chose this program.

Moreover, the location of this summer engineering program also attracted me. It is held at the University of Pennsylvania, a famous member of the Ivy League. It is such a great school with a serious academic atmosphere, while maintaining the beautiful and natural scenes within the campus. It has also had an esteemed academic reputation throughout its long history. These factors also motivated me to apply to ESAP.

 What was the most exciting moment for you in this program (or school year)?

The most exciting moment was when we finally finished our final projects and presented them to our classmates and their parents. It was a computer game I created named “Asteroid” in which players control a spaceship to destroy the asteroids and kill the boss. I spent several days and nights designing the behavior of the asteroids, the spaceship, the bullets and the boss. I was satisfied with my work and proudly showed it to the audience. That was quite exciting!

How has this program affected your future plans?

This great program gave me a chance to learn more about computer science. In this program I discovered that computer science is a science of computing, not just programming, and it has many applications, such as data analysis, data structure, and making computer games. At the ESAP I found that computer science really intrigues me. Reading the codes can be so enjoyable and seeing the correct outputs on the screen provide me with great satisfaction. After the program I decided to major in computer science and choose programming as my future career.

What advice do you have for teens interested in STEM?

You are really able to use your STEM knowledge to create something fun. Don’t be afraid to use your hands and your brain to build some new things. Applying the knowledge is the best way to learn STEM.